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Fear Of ICE, Other Federal Agencies May Keep Undocumented Immigrants From Reporting COVID-19 Cases

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

Members of the Latinx community remain at higher risk of COVID-19, according to advocates.  And as KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, some may not be forthcoming about potential cases, as was shared at today’s Lane County Health briefing.

Lane County Equity and Access Coordinator Mo Young spoke of racial disparities in reported cases.

Credit From Lane Co. Public Health briefing / LCPH
Mo Young, Equity and Access Coordinator for Lane County.

“According to an article in The Oregonian, although Latinos make up 13 percent of Oregon’s population, they represent more than 25 percent of all COVID-19 positive cases," said Young. 

"According the U.S. Census bureau in Lane County, Latinos make up less than 10 percent of the population, but almost 22 percent of positive cases are members of the Latino community.”

David Saez is executive director of Centro Latino Americano. He says there’s concern potentially infected immigrants may avoid alerting authorities due to worries over ICE or other federal agencies.

“We need to separate out immigration status. This needs to be addressed as a public health issue for everybody," said Saez.

Credit From Lane Co. Public Health briefing / LCPH
David Saez, Executive Director of Centro Latino Americano.

"Because if one of us is impacted, then we’re all going to be impacted. It doesn’t go away because we’re documented or not.”

Lane County and other partners are working to get bilingual information out to underrepresented communities, so they know how they can get help without fear of arrest and deportation.

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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